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One State Solution

The Lede Blog on the New York Times published a post titled “Could There Be a One State Solution?” It was quickly taken off the New York Times homepage. I wrote the following comment in response.

The one state solution has been gaining credence among intellectuals and the general populations in Israel/Palestine (especially Palestinians) because the two-state solution looks increasingly impossible to implement. Dividing Jerusalem, dismantling Jewish settlements in the West Bank, establishing a Palestinian state bisected by Israel are all insurmountable obstacles to a two-state solution that immediately disappear in a one-state solution.

In a one-state solution reconciliation can truly begin and Jew and gentile Israeli, Muslim and Christian Palestinian, Arab, Mizrahi and Ashkenazi can all coexist. Jews don’t have to be evacuated from Hebron and other holy cities in the West Bank, Palestinians can live in Tel Aviv, Yaffa, or Nazareth. The Holy Land will finally retain its sacred status once more.

The presence of 300,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and 200,000 others in East Jerusalem living in Jewish-only settlements, driving on Jewish-only roads makes the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem increasingly difficult. How the International community expects Israel to relocate 10% of Israel’s Jewish population back into Israel is not clear. Furthermore, it is unlikely that ideologically driven and fiercely religious settlers will opt to live in peace in the Palestinian state. Dividing Jerusalem into two cities is extremely painful for those who love the city whether Palestinian or Israeli.

Extremists on both sides will see their power sapped as soon as there is a resolution and peace on the horizon. According to some polls a majority of Palestinians and a substantial population of Israelis would support a binational state and this is before any public or educational campaign to inform and educate the respective publics of the advantages of a one state solution.

The state of Israel/Palestine could guarantee the rights of all its citizens and have a strong secular and democratic constitution that would be the envy and partner of the entire Middle East. The current round of violence has shown how the Palestinians’ dreams have been stifled by war and how Israel’s democracy has turned into Apartheid. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only a century old which is comparatively short to South Africa’s and North Ireland’s centuries long fight for equality. Yet, today, both South Africa and Ireland are among the most prosperous and peaceful countries in the world.

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24 Responses to “One State Solution”

  1. Nice one. I don’t see how any sane person could argue with that.

    Posted by Kalash | January 18, 2009, 6:46 pm
  2. Actually, South Africa is still an apartheid country. Economic racism has taken the place of institutional racism. Apartheid still exists. So nope, South Africa is not among the most prosperous and peaceful countries in the world. Sorry.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2009, 6:56 pm
  3. But at least South Africa eliminated the legal discrimination in theory. Its a huge step forward.

    Posted by Arayus | January 18, 2009, 8:25 pm
  4. The same is true for the United States. Abolishing Jim crow laws were a legal step forward. It doesn’t mean that Blacks aren’t discriminated against but the US is still better off today than 50 yrs ago. At least it is illegal to discriminate against Blacks.

    Posted by helima | January 18, 2009, 9:37 pm
  5. South Africa has become just another African junk state. With white flight have left white professionals who actually knew how to administer the country, and the foreign capital flows they were able to bring in. The country, once a 1st world nation detonating neutron bombs in the Antarctic with Israel, is now suffering rolling blackouts because the gov was warned 10 years ago that it would face electricity shortages but did nothing to address this. Crime is completely out of control. Any whites with money live in fortress cities. And any whites without money have left. Just like in zimbabwe, once white landowners left, crop yields plummeted. The end of apartheid has only made apartheid more pronounced.If Israel goes bi-national, it should not be overnight. They should announce a 50 year gradual economic, governmental and political integration. U can't erase 60 years of war overnight.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2009, 5:37 pm
  6. Any blacks with money also live in fortresses. At night no one with money dares go outside the walls, black or white.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2009, 9:39 pm
  7. The Israeli’s have been so cruel to the Palestinians, and the genocide is so ingrained, why would any Palestinian want to live side by side with the ISraelis?

    Posted by Anonymous | January 18, 2009, 11:07 pm
  8. In an era when even in peaceful Belgium, Quebec and Catalonia there is increasing talk of separation, I don't see how anybody can think Jews and Arabs can really peacefully coexist side by side in one state. Look what's happening in India between Hindus and Muslims, and imagine it worse.One state is a beautiful solution on paper, if it will be imposed in reality it will end in horrible two-sided massacres and bloody civil war. There has got to be agreed separation between Israel and Palestine. Israel will have to relocate most of its settlers, Just like France relocated 1,000,000 French natives of Algeria when it withdrew.

    Posted by AutoFocus | January 18, 2009, 7:33 pm
  9. I do support the one state solution and I think i’m one of a few who are actualy vocal about it in Jordan. I think it is impossible to have two states with all the settelments and scattered villages and towns in the West Bank. What about Gaza and the West Bank, is that another disconnectes country? What shall we do with Israeli Arabs? This divide will cause more violence and more injustice, therefore a one state for all is the best choice.

    Posted by Ali | January 19, 2009, 12:22 am
  10. AutoFocus

    There has always been talk of separation in the countries that you mentioned, but it has never been a serious option because most people would never support such a thing. Even in India, in most places, Hindus and Muslims live side-by-side peacefully (including the area of India I come from). The riots and violence that do occur, are partly as a result of the partition 60+ years ago (which ended up killing 3 million people in a year and still results in violence), and partly as a result of discrimination some Muslims face.

    When implementing a one-state solution, something I seriously support, it will have to be gradual with a lot of help from the international community. Lessons can be learnt from the experiences of India and other countries.

    Posted by Shafiq | January 19, 2009, 4:35 am
  11. Nothing can happen until the war ends.

    Posted by Roy | January 19, 2009, 8:06 am
  12. “Look what’s happening in India between Hindus and Muslims, and imagine it worse.”

    What exactly is happening? If you’re refering to the Mumbai attacks – it was carried about by Pakistanis who creeped into India. Indian Hindus and Muslims do not have major issues among themselves. India, since independence, has had Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Prime Ministers. Yes, there have been minor clashes here and there, but for the most part they share a common heritage, history, culture and nationality. Religion is not a major issue. It’s a very secular nation.

    Posted by SouthAsianReader | January 19, 2009, 10:28 am
  13. But the war goes on because of the occupation. End the occupation, end the war.

    In my trip to the West Bank and Israel itself, it was readily apparent that the only meaningful solution to this conflict was the 1 state solution due to all the “facts on the ground” that Israel has created in the past 41 years.

    When I talked to Palestinians in East Jerusalem or the West Bank most of them said an easy end to the conflict was having the Israeli government issue them citizenship. And it makes sense. Palestinians use Israeli currency, have to answer to Israeli military tribunals for the law anyway, and their every action is monitored by Israel as if they were a citizen(just without the rights of a citizen).

    There are only two ways to end this conflict.

    1) Give the Palestinians there own state, within the 48 or 67 borders. (which every Palestinian group including Hamas is down for)


    2) Incorporate the occupied people into one state.

    There is also a 3rd way, which would entail the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. I don’t think Jews, a people who endured the Holocaust could stomach that. And I highly doubt that Palestinians would accept that. So its either 1 or 2.

    Posted by Arayus | January 19, 2009, 10:29 am
  14. But the war goes on because of the occupation. End the occupation, end the war.

    Nope, you’re backwards. You’ve lost the notion of what occupation is. It’s part of war. You think it’s a cause of war, but it isn’t.

    War leads to occupation. Ending the war leads to ending occupation. That’s just how it works.

    Cart, meet horse.

    Posted by Roy | January 19, 2009, 10:34 am
  15. What war are we on about here?

    The Israeli-Arab war from 1948?
    The current war between Hamas and Israel?
    The war between Israel and Palestinian territories since 1967?

    As to which came first, the occupation or the war, depends on what war we’re talking about.

    And SouthAsianReader: Totally agree with you, which is why I think there SHOULDN’T be a two-state solution. It’s not feasible in the long term.

    Posted by Shafiq | January 19, 2009, 10:46 am
  16. As to which came first, the occupation or the war, depends on what war we’re talking about.

    There has been a continual state of war between Israel and various Arab states and groups since Israel’s creation. Many of those wars were settled in the conventional way. The state of war with the Palestinians has never been settled.

    The relationship between Israel and Palestinians has always been a wartime relationship. There are not multiple wars, there is one, continuous state of war that has different phases of fighting and cease-fires, but there has never been a negotiated peace to say “the war is over”.

    When did you think the war ever ended?

    Posted by Roy | January 19, 2009, 12:04 pm
  17. In the 1990s after the first Intifada, the Madrid talks and the Oslo Peace Accords, there was a real lull in the conflict and a chance for a genuine peace between the two peoples. However, Israel chose to solidify and extend its occupation, creating more facts on the ground and increasing the settler population from 90,000 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1991 to 350,000 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2000. If the occupation were a strategic and temporary necessity to secure Israel until peace were made with the Palestinians, Israel would not need to populate the West Bank.

    Posted by Sama Adnan | January 19, 2009, 1:01 pm
  18. I think the one state solution is the only viable option. The “territories” really don’t look like a feasible state.

    The Palestinians should be very generously compensated and awarded citizenship. I think this would even (over some time) lead to less racism in the Jewish community in Israel. The ****ers will just have to get along.

    The only thing is, would Palestinians be happy with the name “Israel” or should it be one Palestine?

    Posted by Joe | January 19, 2009, 2:14 pm
  19. If the occupation were a strategic and temporary necessity to secure Israel until peace were made with the Palestinians

    I haven’t argued that that’s what it is. I said it’s part of the war. Not some stopgap measure between war and peace. War that never quite ended.

    Posted by Roy | January 19, 2009, 2:15 pm
  20. “Nope, you’re backwards. You’ve lost the notion of what occupation is. It’s part of war. You think it’s a cause of war, but it isn’t.”

    Arab-Israelis living with Israeli citizenship never rose up against Israel in any meaningful way. This is despite the fact that they live as second class citizens in Israel and face massive social discrimination. HOWEVER, despite all that they still have citizenship and the ability to live a somewhat decent life. For this reason they have been largely complacent despite calls from Israeli ministers to ethnically cleanse them or take away their voting rights or the recent ruling to ban their political parties from the upcoming election.

    Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza however, live under a brutal military occupation, and just like any other human being on the planet they will resist ferociously. Their grievance is the brutal occupation and the inability to live a decent life.

    There is no war Roy, their is only military occupation and violence. The only way to end both is to either give the Palestinians their own VIABLE state or give them Israeli citizenship. I prefer the latter solution, and so do many Palestinians.

    Its all up to Israel. The Palestinians are more than ready.

    Posted by Arayus | January 19, 2009, 4:46 pm
  21. There is no war Roy, their is only military occupation and violence.That isn't merely untrue, it's gibberish. There is no such thing as a military occupation without there being a war it was part of. If you've got hostile foreign troops on your soil, taking control, you're at war.Also amusing is the notion of "military violence" on foreign people not being a war.It's a war, and it's never been resolved. Hamas thinks it can merely demand everything it wants, and back it up with rocket attacks on civilians (which, somehow, you think is not waging war). You seem to think that's a good approach.I don't. I think Hamas needs to surrender.

    Posted by Roy | January 20, 2009, 4:36 am
  22. nice blog here. I wish I could blog like you.. well, take it easy. happy new year

    Posted by georgia payday loans | August 8, 2011, 5:53 pm


  1. […] After Sharm el Sheikh, the European leaders headed to Israel where they met with Olmert and debriefed him. They expressed a desire to see a renewed push for peace and a two-state solution. The British and French leaders called for Israel to pull its troops out of Gaza as soon as possible – any peace must begin there. Sarkozy explained that “what is at stake is the future of the state of Israel.” In other words, either a peaceful two-state solution is reached, or the state of Israel as we have come to know it is doomed. […]

    Shame on Sharm | KABOBfest - March 29, 2011
  2. […] Solution?" From the update on the blog site it was evidently controversial and it was reportedly removed from the Times homepage soon after it was posted. If the Times actually wanted to promote intelligent discussion of this important idea there is not […]

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